The Commonwealth Bank Matildas are in Newcastle ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against the United States, with head coach Tony Gustavsson excited for his first taste of 'Newy.'
After some spectacular crowds and matches at McDonald Jones Stadium over the years, head coach Tony Gustavsson can’t wait to soak up the atmosphere that the Newcastle-born players have told him all about.
“I'm really excited because the players have explained the atmosphere at the stadium, and if it's just half of that, I'm going to be as excited as them,” he told media in his pre-match press conference.
With record ticket sales for the match, Gustavsson and the team will be looking to give the Novocastrian fans a great showing in what will be the first Commonwealth Bank Matildas match in the Hunter since March 2020.
Following on from Saturday’s defeat at Stadium Australia, Gustavsson and his charges analysed the result and have been preparing to get 'one day better,' come Tuesday night.
“As always, after a game, it's about taking the learnings. You all know by now that I always talk about getting 'one day better,' and this is about getting one game better and taking the learnings from that game.”
READ: "We need depth in the backline and to be brave enough to get players into these types of games"
MINI MATCH: CommBank Matildas v USA
After video sessions and lots of open dialogue, the team is ready to apply what they’ve learnt to tomorrow night’s game.
The squad has been in Newcastle training and recovering. Some players are still restricted to limited minutes which means the younger, less experienced players are in line to earn even more valuable game time.
Both the fresher faces and more experienced heads impressed the Swedish coach following on from the weekend’s disappointing result.
“I think the young players responded really well after that goal we conceded and going into the game.
"But I also want to credit the experienced players, it's not easy to step onto the field with a completely new kind of centre-back pairing with inexperience, play the US and have me saying we're going to treat it like a World Cup final as well.
“But we really learned something and the one thing that we will learn from that game, in not just the defending in the backline but also team defending, is that feeling of being uncomfortable, uncertain, stressed and pressured going into the game.
“That's what we want to learn and get better at, to be able to perform on home soil in the World Cup when the spotlight is on us from the world, so to speak.”
The Commonwealth Bank Matildas’ last hit out for 2021 is another opportunity to prepare and learn against the best teams in the world before the group shifts into tournament mode ahead of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup and the FIFA Women’s World Cup a year later.
“I think we need to get exposed to things, we need to develop to be ready for the World Cup in ’23.
"I think that's the way to build confidence because then the players know we've done it over and over and over again and we've learned from it and now when we go into the tournament we're ready for it, not just the potential easier games but also the tougher games.”
Commonwealth Bank Matildas v U.S. Women’s National Team
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 8.05pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and free on Network 10 and simulcast on 10 Play